Big Ten football has returned, let the masses rejoice! With CFB returning to national attention and the season beginning, the diehard fan bases of each university are ready to anoint themselves the National Champion. Clearly there is a schedule like no other that will require navigation, a little luck and some dominating play over the long haul. Remember, eve with the new system; a loss will ruin your season and could remove a shot to play for the national title. The ritual that is TV and tailgating has returned to rescue the masses once again. The Big Ten is ready, let’s get this ball rolling.
Sports bars, job sites and cubical mazes are filled with conversations centered on college football. Who will win the Big Ten? Is this the year for Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, Rutgers, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern, or Minnesota? Will a Big Ten team win the National Title? This time of year there are always more questions than answers. That is where the Sports Unbiased writing staff comes in.
The crack staff at Sports Unbiased is once again up to the challenge of answering those very questions. The following writers weighed in- Jared Cortes, JR Williams, Adam Solowiei and, Zach Bigalke. Each member of the staff that participated did so without contact from others. The results were tallied and the consensus was determined.
This time around the staff was asked to pick who will win Big Ten Conference. Below you will see which team each writer picked and the Sports Unbiased consensus pick. Our lead college football writer, Zach Bigalke, will also be offering a portion of his 2014 Big Ten preview. We will also give you the ability to weigh in through the use of polls. Each category will have a poll and a national consensus when that poll closes. Check the results, voice your opinion, and make your picks. Let’s see who got it right and who got it wrong over the coming months. Don’t forget to cast your vote in all the polls to help determine the national consensus.
|Adam Solowiei||Michigan State|
|Jared Cortes||Ohio State|
|Zach Bigalke||Michigan State|
|SU Consensus||Michigan State|
Preview and Rankings
Less than a decade ago, the case could have been made that the Big Ten was the best conference in college football. In the 2005 season Penn State and Ohio State were ranked third and fourth respectively, hovering just on the cusp of the national championship picture. A year later, the Buckeyes and Wolverines played a 42-39 thriller while ranked as the top two teams in the country, and there was talk about a rematch for the crystal football before the BCS spit out Florida instead as Ohio State’s opponent on that fateful Arizona night when the Big Ten started its descent into relative irrelevance.
Sure, the league grabbed an outsized share of BCS at-large berths on the strength of its pedigree. (In only four of the 16 years of the BCS did the Big Ten miss out on claiming an at-large berth; over the course of the era, the conference was awarded 12 of the 48 at-large berths that were not already allocated to conference champions, and that percentage rises when you take into account automatic qualifying rules for BCS Busters and Notre Dame.) And its TV contracts have made the Big Ten the richest conference in college football, with member schools splitting hundreds of millions of dollars between themselves annually.
But the competitive balance no longer rests in the Midwest. Claiming spots in the College Football Playoff will probably be harder, not easier, for Big Ten schools at the dawn of the new era. The conference’s reputation is at a nadir, with sanctions knocking first Ohio State and then Penn State from perches of significance. Michigan State restored some pride for the league at the Rose Bowl against Stanford, and Ohio State did the same a few years earlier against Oregon. But they haven’t been in the national championship picture since the Buckeyes lost their second straight title game in 2007, this time to “never lost in regulation” LSU.
Just three years from welcoming Nebraska into the fold and forming two divisions, the Big “Ten” becomes 14 in 2014 with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. What effect will the two newcomers have on conference strength of schedule in the eyes of the selection committee? Can any team distinguish itself enough to force an inclusion into the four-team bracket?(READ MORE)